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This series consists of the administrative, reference, and financial records of the Commission to Preserve the Peace. It contains correspondence, speeches, reports, minutes, vouchers, ledgers, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings. These records represent the agency's attempts to investigate the various Civil Rights groups, and individuals who supported these groups or promoted "liberal" ideas that ran counter to the conservative viewpoint, and who might pose a threat to the racial and societal structures that existed in Alabama in the 1960s. The commission also kept an eye on activities that occurred on all of the college and university campuses throughout Alabama. Mobile, Selma, Birmingham, Montgomery, Lowndes County, and Macon County are mentioned frequently as locations of active civil rights groups.
The commission investigated the following subjects and organizations, to name a few: American Civil Liberties Union, American Friends Service Committee, Black Panther Party, Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, communism, drugs, Fellowship of Reconciliation, hippies, Institute of Pacific Relations, League for Industrial Democracy, Muslims, Southern Conference Education Fund, National Lawyers Guild, Office of Economic Opportunity, Spartacist League, Students for a Democratic Society, Southern Student Organizing Committee, Student Nonviolent Coodinating Committee, Alabama Council on Human Relations, Southern Regional Council, Inc., Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. In addition, the agency also investigated the following publications: Ramparts, People's World, Daily World, The Militant, The Southern Patriot, and Focus.
Most of the correspondence is addressed to or was generated by the commission's chairman, John Hawkins, Staff Director Edwin Strickland, Research Director J. Dean Fleming, or the commission's secretary, Mavis Hicks. Some of the individuals who are the subject of correspondence and reference file material are: J. Edgar Hoover, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, Angela Davis, Lyndon B. Johnson, Karl Prussian, and Edward Davis. Major correspondents include: Dan Smoot, Paul Harvey, John R. Rarick, Billy James Hargis, Leighton L. Baker, John Stennis, Opal Tanner White, J. Walter Yeagley, Donald I. Sweany, Jr., Strom Thurmond, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, Zilla Hinton, William L. Dickinson, Richard D. Morphew, Richard B. Cotton, J.C. Phillips, George Blomgren Dewey, George Andrews, Lister Hill, Hugh Maddox, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar C. Bundy, Alton Turner, James B. Allen, and Jere Beasley. There are also numerous memorandums and informal reports to Governors George C. Wallace, Lurleen B. Wallace, and Albert P. Brewer.
Among the many organizations represented in the correspondence are Christian Crusade; Women for Constitution Government; New Yorkers for the Constitution, Inc.; John Birch Society; Indiana Patriotic Publications; American Opinion Library; International Conference of Police Associations; Bob Jones University; U.S. Congress Committee on Un-American Activities; Student Voice; Illinois Seditious Activities Investigation Commission; Conservatives, Inc.; Fraternal Order of Police; American Legion; American Security Council; Citizens' Councils of America; Conservative Viewpoint; and the Church League of America.
There is considerable correspondence between Strickland and other members of the Southern Association of Investigators, especially representatives from Mississippi and Texas. Also in the records is a certificate of merit from the American Academy of Public Affairs that was awarded to the commission in 1970 for its report on the communist influence in the U.N. Included also are several letters from citizens of Rhodesia or Rhodesian sympathizers requesting reports and/or discussing segregation in Rhodesia. Strickland's personal letter to Robert Kennedy, dated 1962 October 10, in which Strickland writes that the Kennedys are leading the nation toward communism is among the general correspondence.
The commission issued reports of its findings to the state legislature and the Governor. Seven formal reports were prepared and made available to the general public as well as to the legislature. "Communists in Civil Rights," "1964 Civil Rights Bill," and "National Council of Churches" were produced separately and then later reissued as part of the 1965 "biennial Report to the Alabama Legislature." The other three reports were: "Campus Unrest, " "United Nations," and an untitled report on U.S. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. In addition to these reports the commission issued numerous informal reports about various groups, individuals, or subjects.
By the 1970s the amount of correspondence generated and received, and the number of investigative reports produced had decreased significantly. All of the 1974 correspondence is in regard to Alabama statutes governing private investigator licensing.
- Abernathy, Ralph, -- 1926-1990.
- Davis, Angela Yvonne, -- 1944-
- Davis, Edward.
- Fortas, Abe, -- -1982.
- Hoover, J. Edgar -- (John Edgar), -- 1895-1975.
- Johnson, Lyndon B. -- (Lyndon Baines), -- 1908-1973.
- King, Martin Luther, -- Jr., -- 1929-1968.
- Prussion, Karl.
- Wallace, George C. -- (George Corley), -- 1919-1998.
- Alabama Council on Human Relations.
- American Friends Service Committee.
- American Civil Liberties Union.
- Auburn University.
- Black Panther Party.
- Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
- Fellowship of Reconciliation (U.S.)
- Institute of Pacific Relations.
- League for Industrial Democracy.
- National Lawyers Guild.
- Southern Association of Investigators.
- Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- Southern Conference Education Fund.
- Southern Poverty Law Center (Montgomery, Ala.)
- Southern Regional Council.
- Southern Student Organizing Committee (Nashville, Tenn.)
- Spartacist League of the U.S.
- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
- Students for a Democratic Society (U.S.)
- Troy State University.
- United Nations.
- United States. -- Office of Economic Opportunity.
- University of Alabama.
- University of Montevallo.
- University of North Alabama.
- University of South Alabama.
- African Americans -- Civil rights -- Alabama.
- Black Muslims -- Alabama.
- Blacks -- Alabama -- Religion.
- Blacks -- Segregation -- Alabama.
- Blacks -- Civil rights -- Alabama.
- Civil rights and socialism -- Alabama.
- Civil rights movements -- Alabama.
- Communisum -- Alabama.
- Drug abuse -- Alabama.
- Drug abuse -- Social aspects -- Alabama.
- Hippies -- Alabama.
- Selma-Montgomery Rights March, 1965.
- Subversive activities -- Alabama.
- Birmingham (Ala.)
- Lowndes County (Ala.)
- Macon County (Ala.)
- Mobile (Ala.)
- Montgomery (Ala.)
- Selma (Ala.)